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Tigers End Six Game Skid

Bryce Florie took full advantage of an interleague start against his former Detroit teammates.

Florie, traded to Detroit from Milwaukee at the end of last season, pitched seven strong innings Saturday night to beat his old team 9-3, snapping the Tigers' six-game losing streak.

"It was kind of different facing the guys. It was definitely weird seeing the same lineup I played with last year," Florie said. "But I can't do anything different because of that. But it was a little weird."

Weird but effective. Florie (4-1), a reliever making only his second start of the season, allowed eight hits and two runs.

"He got us out," Milwaukee manager Phil Garner said. "Seven innings into the game what did we score two runs. He threw some balls decent, made pitches when he needed to get a big double play that kind of turned the ballgame around in the third. It was mainly our lack of execution."

Tony Clark had a homer and two doubles and Billy Ripken drove in three runs for Detroit.

"Actually we've been swinging the bats pretty well even though we've been losing," Tigers manager Buddy Bell said. "I didn't know what to think after we went up ahead two in the first and then they came back with two outs again and tied it up. But we came back and scored and I thought that was probably the most critical time in the game."

The Brewers tied it 2-2 on Fernando Vina's double in the second inning. But with two outs in the third, Clark doubled and scored on Damion Easley's single to make it 3-2. Luis Gonzalez and Joe Oliver followed with singles to increase the margin to two runs.

Scott Karl (5-3), gave up 11 hits and five runs in 4 2-3 innings. He walked three, including Florie twice, and struck out three.

"I definitely wasn't finding my pitches," said Karl, who won his first four games but has two losses and two no-decisions in his last four outings.

"I went back to look at it on video and, I don't know, it was just a breakdown. I don't know if it's mental or physical. I'm just not doing my job."

"I like to start," Florie said. "This is only my second start so I'm still trying to get my strength and wind and all that, but it's nice. I like to start."

Bell said he now faces a "good problem" in deciding how to use Florie the rest of the season.

"I don't think there's any question he can do this," Bell said of starting. "It's just that Bryce can do a lot of different things for you. Where he fits best is what you try to do and right now, for us anyway, he's better off in the rotation."

Florie hopes to stay in the starting rotation.

"I like to start," Florie said. "This is only my second start so I'm still trying to get my srength and wind and all that, but it's nice. I like to start."

Clark's two-out solo home run in the sixth, his 10th, gave Detroit a 6-2 advantage. Ripken and Brian Hunter hit RBI doubles in the seventh to make it 8-2. Ripken added a sacrifice fly in the ninth.

Ripken's RBI single in the fifth inning boosted Detroit's lead to 5-2.

Detroit took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double by Clark and a single by Easley, who has 33 RBIs in his last 24 games.

Pinch-hitter Bob Hamelin hit a solo homer in the ninth off Detroit reliever A.J. Sager.

Notes: Florie made only his 10th start in 168 games. ... Detroit scored in the first inning for only the 10th time in 56 games ... The Brewers have taken Paul Wagner out of the starting rotation. He will be replaced by Brad Woodall.

©1998 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed

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